32 Vice president of clinical operations and transformation Commonwealth Care Alliance
IYAH ROMM STARTED making his impact on the healthcare industry soon after he dropped out of medical school.
After falling down a flight of stairs in his early 20s, Romm suffered from visual impairment and struggled to get a diagnosis. From the viewpoint of a patient, he saw that even a person of relative privilege could have difficulty getting needed care.
“I realized we were having all the wrong conversations,” he said.
He concentrated on health policy when studying for his biology degree, and after deciding he wasn’t going to get a medical degree, turned his focus to public health.
He started working on health policy issues at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and eventually became the first director of care delivery innovation and investment at the Health Policy Commission.
After seven years in government, he moved to the Commonwealth Care Alliance, a not-for-profit health plan where he oversees care for about 18,000 members who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. His goal is to create a care delivery model that truly integrates finance and delivery and can be scaled and used by other organizations across the country. He wants it to be patient-centered and light on bureaucracy.
“It starts by changing the culture for providers and showing the importance of patient issues like housing, employment and child care,” he said.
Romm said he wants to help shift the lexicon and change attitudes about caring for patient populations with complex needs. His goal is to make a difference in healthcare delivery through small and large changes.
“At the end of the day, if I’m having impact I’m happy,” he said. “And if I’m not, I look for the next thing to do.”